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The Phoenix Film Festival Returns


A Quiet Place
Dir: John Krasinski

Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds

Monte’s Rating

4.25 out of 5.00

Monte Yazzie
If you live in or near the city, go outside and listen to the world. There is constantly some kind of noise humming about in the atmosphere. When you venture into nature or far outside of the city limits, the quiet can be comforting. However, it can be somewhat unnerving and lonesome.

Silence is a powerful tool in cinema, it can heighten a scene of drama, play a critical role for a punchline in comedy, or rattle the nerves in horror films. Alfred Hitchcock was a master of using silence to heighten suspense to effectively craft perfect horror scenes. Think about the moments of silence in “Psycho” or the wordless moment in “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” Hitchcock understands that silence, in its many different forms, is one of the most effective tools in a filmmaker’s skill set.

John Krasinski, famous for his role in “The Office” television show, writes and directs the new horror film “A Quiet Place.” Playing with silence as the tool for tension, Mr. Krasinski crafts an exceptional horror film that utilizes an effective arrangement of classic horror movie tropes and setups to make a simplistic premise pulse with suspense.

Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt), like most parents, only want to protect their kids Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Regan (Millicent Simmonds) from the perils of the world; however, the world they live in makes this a very difficult task. The family lives in silence, communicating with sign language and walking barefoot through their desolate home in the forest to survive the threat of extinction at the hands of unstoppable creatures, who hunt with heightened sound awareness.

The easy premise here may seem somewhat one note – another creature feature with people running panicked from a destructive force –  however, Mr. Krasinski composes this film with such precision that you almost forget that the whole concept revolves around the aspect of survival. What makes it so engaging, which in turn makes the tension and suspense work so effectively, is the construction of the family dynamic.
The drama that engages the family to function with normalcy in a situation that is far from normal. The brother and sister quarrel, the husband and wife share romantic moments, and the parent and child relationships are filled with growing pains.
When danger comes during moments that are interrupted with aspects of sound, the terror is palpable and the concern for the well-being of the family is real. Krasinski crafts the film with a clear understanding of how and why fear has such a grasp on people.

The design of the film is also quite effective in the sound design, which is a mix of subtle and sharp moments that heighten the scenes with suspense. Understanding that the creatures hunt by what they hear, the director utilizes this aspect to toy with the viewer, leading them to predict what might happen, which is often the worst-case scenario.

“A Quiet Place” was an exciting and fun 85-minute horror film, it utilizes design to accommodate genre characteristics to craft some truly exciting and terror-filled moments.